söndag, 12 mars 2017 / Published in NEWS From the world

NEWS from FORBES

Plant Waste Can Make Carbon Fiber Cheaper

The Flintstones aside, wood is not the first choice for car parts. But when blended into carbon fiber, it turns out that a wood byproduct could lower the cost of the high-tech material without sacrificing its strength.

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic is very light and very strong. The fibers are short chains of carbon atoms bundled together and twisted into long strands. Those can be woven together and locked inside an epoxy resin to make stiff, lightweight parts for jets, prosthetics, cars and more.

As with so many human inventions, plants beat us to it long ago. They evolved their own light and strong reinforcement for building structures: lignin. It’s a carbon-based biological polymer that gives strength and rigidity to plant cell walls and helps prevent rot. It typically makes up about between one-fifth and one-third of the dry mass of wood.

 

 

Lignin’s toughness and resilience makes it great for plants, but it’s generally a nuisance when it comes to wood and plant products. When wood or plants are broken down to pulp to make paper or ethanol, lignin is treated as a waste product. It’s either sent to a landfill or burned for energy, which isn’t much of an improvement. Now bioengineer Birgitte Ahring has come up with a better use for lignin.

 

Source – FORBES Read the full article – click here

måndag, 27 februari 2017 / Published in NEWS From the world

 

INFORMATION from The Guardian

Informative film on ”Why we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground”.

See The Guardian

onsdag, 28 december 2016 / Published in NEWS From the world

Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Circular Economy

The European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy that establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The annex to the action plan sets out the timeline when the actions will be completed.

The proposed actions will contribute to ”closing the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy.

The revised legislative proposals on waste set clear targets for reduction of waste and establish an ambitious and credible long-term path for waste management and recycling. Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:

  • A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030;
  • A common EU target for recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030;
  • A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2030;
  • A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste;
  • Promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling ;
  • Simplified and improved definitions and harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates throughout the EU;
  • Concrete measures to promote re-use and stimulate industrial symbiosis – turning one industry’s by-product into another industry’s raw material;
  • Economic incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery and recycling schemes (eg for packaging, batteries, electric and electronic equipments, vehicles).

The following legislative proposals on waste have been adopted

  • Proposed Directive on Waste
  • Annex to proposed Directive on Waste
  • Proposed Directive on Packaging Waste
  • Annex to proposed Directive on Packaging Waste
  • Proposed Directive on Landfill
  • Proposed Directive on electrical and electronic waste, on end-of-life vehicles, and batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
  • Analytical note on waste management targets
  • Staff Working Document – Implementation Plan

 

READ MORE; Complete Guidelines and New Directives of the European Union here

tisdag, 29 november 2016 / Published in NEWS From the world

First emissions mechanism established for aviation

Carbon emissions from aviation are growing faster than any other sector. In an effort to address the problem, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved the world’s first global emissions reduction scheme last month.

The Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a market-based mechanism in which carbon emissions are offset through the purchase of credits, leaving aviation emissions to remain – at least on paper – at 2020 levels.
CARBON & CLIMATE
Will the new aviation deal save forests?

Aviation currently accounts for just 2 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions globally, about half of which is from international aviation. However, without effective measures, aviation could account for about 22 per cent of all emissions by 2050, according to projections from Greenovation Hub, an environmental non-governmental organisation.

The aviation sector is growing rapidly, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predict that the number of airline passengers will more than double by 2034 to 7.3 billion, up from 3.5 billion in 2015. China will account for a significant proportion of the growth in passenger numbers. IATA expect that 20 per cent of passengers will be travelling to, from or within China by 2034.

China is also predicted to overtake the US as the world’s largest aviation market for passengers by 2024. Passenger numbers are expected to double from current levels to over 900 million by 2025 and to 1.3 billion by 2035. The US market, in comparison, is expected to increase from just over 650 million passengers in 2015 to 900 million passengers.

Read the full story from the ECO-News here

lördag, 24 september 2016 / Published in NEWS From the world
onsdag, 30 december 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Launch of new sustainable development agenda to guide development actions for the next 15 years
INFORMATION

30 DEC 2015 – The new year ushers in the official launch of the bold and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders last September at the United Nations. The new Agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 15 years. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”The SDGs, unanimously adopted by the UN’s 193 Member States at an historic summit in September 2015, address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries, emphasising that no one should be left behind. Broad and ambitious in scope, the Agenda addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, as well as important aspects related to peace, justice and effective institutions.The mobilization of means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships, are also acknowledged as critical. The Paris Conference on climate change is seen by many as the first test of political will to implement the Agenda. “The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the planet, and for multilateralism. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change. By addressing climate change we are advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said the UN Secretary-General.Turning this vision into reality is primarily the responsibility of countries, but it will also require new partnerships and international solidarity. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make. Reviews of progress will need to be undertaken regularly in each country, involving civil society, business and representatives of various interest groups. At the regional level, countries will share experiences and tackle common issues, while on an annual basis at the United Nations, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will take stock of progress at the global level, identifying gaps and emerging issues, and recommending corrective action.The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets of the new agenda will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. These will be compiled into an Annual SDG Progress Report.

 

 

Source: UN-DPI

måndag, 28 december 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

There’s a major problem, however, with a CO2-centric strategy. Because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for a century or more, and because we won’t abandon fossil fuels overnight, neutrality by 2050 simply isn’t good enough to keep the Earth from warming 2 degrees Celsius — the generally agreed-upon limit — much less the ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees C that many nations support.

If we’re serious about preventing or at least slowing climate change, we have to broaden our hit list; even as we move toward carbon neutrality, we must also restrict methane, carbon soot, ozone and hydrofluorocarbon coolants. These pollutants are about 25 to 4,000 times more potent warmers than carbon dioxide, but they remain in the atmosphere from mere days in the case of carbon soot to 15 years in the case of HFCs.

Curbing the emissions of these short-lived climate pollutants, or SLCPs, unlike curbing carbon emissions, will have an immediate effect and can dramatically slow global warming within a few decades.

To put real numbers on it: If we reduce our emissions of methane 50%, black carbon 90% and fully replace HFCs by 2030, then we’ll cut in half projected global warming over the next 35 years. These steps will delay environmental disaster and give us time we desperately need to radically change our energy diet.

Existing technologies, clean alternatives and regulatory mechanisms such as the 1987 Montreal Protocol that have proved effective for other climate pollutants can be quickly repurposed to deal with SLCPs.

In November, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to work toward an HFC amendment in 2016. Some parts of the world aren’t waiting. India and Pakistan committed to phase down HFCs. Mexico has pledged to cut SLCPs 25% by 2030. California has already cut its carbon soot and ozone-forming gases 90% and is on its way to curbing all four SLCPs.

There’s no downside to this approach. By curbing short-lived pollutants, not only will we obtain short-term relief from rapid warming, but we will also slow sea-level rise, increase crop yields and score a major victory for public health. Indoor and outdoor pollution today causes more than 7 million premature deaths annually. Curbing SLCPs can benefit us now, saving potentially 40 million lives over the next 20 years.

What we have in front of us isn’t a choice between pulling lever one (carbon dioxide) or lever two (SLCPs); it’s crucial that we pull both levers with all of our collective might. We have a moral imperative to act immediately with everything at our disposal, not only because there’s no Planet B — as environmental activists put it — but because climate change seriously harms human well-being.

Beijing’s air quality index hit 253 this month, registering in the “very unhealthy” zone. The last time Los Angeles County reached that level was in 1991. Many cities around the world have reduced urban air pollution using technologies and rules that have stood the test of time, while constantly evolving. California is already pulling both levers, while its population and its economy are growing and its people are breathing cleaner air.

By acting unilaterally or in small alliances, it’s possible to make real progress on climate change now, above and beyond what the Paris agreement calls for. We have the levers; we just need to pull them.

Veerabhadran Ramanathan is distinguished professor of climate sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a council member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Daniel Press is a professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz and author of ”American Environmental Policy: The Failures of Compliance, Abatement and Mitigations.”

Source: LA Times

måndag, 28 september 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Marching forward: China is creating the world’s largest market-based carbon pricing system.

 

China – the world largest emitter of greenhouse gases – is implementing a national carbon market in 2017

 

During his visit to Washington last week, China’s President Xi Jinping confirmed that the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, which has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity and reach a peak of overall emissions by 2030, will use a cap-and-trade market approach to help realize this.

China already has 7 pilot markets in cities and provinces in place that cover 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Under the national scheme, now to go live in 2017, this could increase to 4 billion tons according to Chinese researchers – making it the world’s largest national emissions trading system.

It’s an exciting step and demonstration of China’s commitment to achieve its low carbon goals.

For those of us working in the trenches, the momentum towards carbon pricing is clear and the use of markets to realize this ambition incontrovertible. So this Chinese policy decision did not come as a surprise.

As Xueman Wang, our team’s leading specialist on the development of Chinese carbon markets explained, “Over a year ago, the Chinese authorities shared that the national scheme would be launched by 2016 or 2017, and so President Xi’s announcement leaves no doubt of their commitment to get started as soon as possible.”

Our relationship to support China to reduce emissions started over a decade ago with technical assistance on the Clean Development Mechanism and supporting some of China’s first projects to earn carbon credits.

As my colleague Neeraj Prasad – who 14 years ago led the Bank’s initial outreach on this with the Chinese authorities — tells it, “The Chinese government understood that there were both financial and environmental gains in reducing emissions.”

This is even more evident today; our recent State & Trends of Carbon Pricing 2015 report underscores the need for international collaboration to lower the cost of reducing emissions with potential transfers amounting to $2 trillion per year by 2050.

Today, we continue to support China in achieving its goals, including the implementation of this new nationwide market. The World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness provides technical assistance and helps knowledge exchange among most of the world’s largest emitters, including China, where it supports the design of its national emissions trading system. It provides countries with the funding they need to design a carbon market, while serving as a platform to share experience and best practices.

Through our private sector arm, IFC, we are also working with some Chinese exchanges and financial institutions to strengthen carbon trading programs and develop products to support increased market liquidity and manage liabilities. We are helping them set up trading platforms and act as market intermediates by ultimately offering trading, hedging and advisory services to their clients when the markets are fully established. This infrastructure will be key.

And it isn’t just China; other countries are designing and implementing market-based carbon pricing mechanisms.Today, there are 62 national or subnational entities worldwide who have carbon pricing instruments in place, covering 12 percent of global emissions (about 7 billion tons of carbon emissions).

This represents a threefold increase over the last decade. A great accomplishment, but more is needed, as are systems and protocols to network these disparate markets.

As World Bank Group President Jim Kim said in response to China’s announcement on Friday: “Carbon pricing is not a panacea, but it is the necessary step to fast track low carbon growth and resilient development. China’s leadership is the kind of strong signal that the political process to Paris needs”.

 

Source: Worldbank

onsdag, 14 januari 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Why climate change adaptation is key to managing global risks

Image: REUTERS/Aly Song
The consequences of climate change are causing growing concern among global leaders as they intersect with a large number of interconnected global risks.

The Global Risks Report 2016, published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Zurich Insurance Group and other leading institutions, found that while geopolitical risk such as uncontrolled immigration and interstate conflicts were seen as the most likely threat, climate issues were the risk factors most likely to influence other risks and thus had the greatest potential impact.

Failure of national governance was seen as the highest risk to doing business by executives in 14 countries, half of them in Latin America, four in sub-Saharan Africa, two in Eastern Europe and one in Asia.

Geopolitical risks

Those findings are hardly surprising, given that geopolitical tensions are now at their highest level since the end of the Cold War, with growing tension over maritime rights in the South China Sea, an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine creating security concerns across the old soviet bloc and military intervention in Syria.

Elsewhere, there are heightened terrorism fears across Europe in the wake of the Paris attack in November 2015, continuing economic uncertainty across Europe after elections in Spain and the collapse of Portugal’s government, and concerns over global growth following a slowdown in the BRICS economies.

These tensions create numerous challenges for businesses and society. Companies face cancelled projects, interruptions to production and supply chains, restrictions on various activities and, potentially, politically motivated attacks on their employees and facilities. Heightened nationalism also increases the risk of protectionist measures and asset seizures.

Geopolitical tensions also divert resources and energy from addressing other issues of mutual concern, including climate change, while politicizing debates around key issues such as market regulation, cyber-crime and mutual security.

Climate change

Climate change remains one of the most pressing contributing factors to geopolitical and other risks, but mitigation efforts have largely failed.

In 2015, the global concentration of carbon dioxide – a key driver of climate change – exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history, while global temperatures appear to have risen by 1 degree Celsius from the pre-Industrial era. The changes are already posing grave challenges for businesses and humanity, including an increase in coastal flooding, falling agricultural production, declining biodiversity, eco-system collapse (accompanied by declines in fish stocks, etc.), and higher costs for cooling and irrigation.

Those risks also have geopolitical consequences. Many people link the Arab spring uprising in 2011 to rising wheat prices, which resulted in protests in the streets of Libya, while potential disputes over water rights could lead to conflict.

Globally, withdrawals of fresh water have increased threefold over the last 50 years and demand is anticipated to rise by a further 40% by 2030.

Collaboration and cooperation

Given the scale and ever increasing complexity and interconnectivity of the challenges posed by climate change, political and other risk factors, it is perhaps understandable that many stakeholders choose to focus instead on the issues that they can manage. In a 2011 survey by the Wharton Business School, for example, more than half of respondents said that the simplest way to manage geopolitical risks was to avoid investing in volatile markets.

Interconnectivity, however, makes such calculations impractical. As the growing immigration crisis in the EU demonstrates, such risks no longer recognize national boundaries. That makes it increasing important that all stakeholders in society work together to address pressing global challenges.

Businesses need to factor potential environmental risks and their contingencies into their business planning and become more proactive in addressing climate challenges. At Zurich, for example, we are contributing to pressing social and environmental issues with investments of up to $2 billion in green bonds to fund projects from hydroelectric power plants to ecological firms; as well as impact investing through private equity to help mitigate environmental risks by supporting a low-carbon economy and encouraging environmentally friendly technologies.

The greatest challenge for corporations is to build resilience to climate and other hazards. This requires a new, more integrated and holistic risk management approach which takes interdependencies between risks into account, with a truly holistic risk management approach. Corporate boards must own the risk agenda because they own the strategy which is inherently intertwined with risk. The board’s role is to set the agenda, drive the culture of risk and oversee implementation throughout the organisation.

The Global Risks Report 2016 is available here.

Author:Cecilia Reyes, Chief Risk Officer & Regional Chairman of Asia Pacific, Zurich Insurance Group

 

Source: World Economic Forum